Call for proposals NWO-FAPESP joint Call for Proposals - “Healthy Ageing” Versão em português
There is a long history of scientific collaboration between Brazil and the Netherlands. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), through the Merian Fund* , and FAPESP aim to further stimulate long-term research collaboration between their two countries by funding joint research, to strengthen the international position and global impact of their research. Funding is provided for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration for research groups and stakeholder partners from the state of São Paulo and the Netherlands, for high quality research that has the potential for societal and scientific impact.
In 2018, NWO and FAPESP have agreed on a new strategic knowledge and innovation agendas. Funded research should be in alignment with national research agendas, as well as international initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and build bridges between different actors in the knowledge chain, fundamental and applied research, and scientific disciplines. A Call for Proposals on a jointly agreed theme based on this agenda is published annually.
In this brochure you will find information about the submission of research proposals for the Seventh call of Joint Research Projects under the Scientific Cooperation Agreement between the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), São Paulo, Brazil, and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This call for proposals is announced simultaneously by FAPESP and NWO. The ‘NWO-FAPESP joint Call for Proposals ‘Healthy Ageing’ is executed by ZonMw. ZonMw is responsible for the management of the NWO Domain the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development.
NWO and FAPESP will provide budget to fund 2 proposals. For the 2019 call, the available budget at NWO is ca. 1.4 million euros and FAPESP will match in terms of research efforts. It is envisaged that applications will display a balanced partnership, not specifically in monetary terms but with equivalent research commitment and efforts from both sides.
The budget request must follow the norms of both FAPESP and NWO and their respective funding regulations. The budget to be approved for each selected proposal will be subject to the rules and restrictions of each funding agency, as specified in this call for proposals. Please see section 3.2 for further details.
This call for proposals is valid until the closing date September 3, 2019. The closing date for the submission of proposals to ProjectNet is 3 September 2019, 14:00 hours CE(S)T and deadline for submitting to the SAGe platform is 23:59 hours (GMT-3).
Applications must be preceded by a Letter of Intent explaining the outlines of the planned project proposal, using the format provided in Annex of this Call. The Principal Investigators should not change after submission of the Letter of Intent. This Letter of Intent must be received by NWO ultimately August 1st, 2019. Letters of Intent must be submitted by the Dutch Principal Investigator to firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals that are not preceded by a Letter of Intent are excluded from the assessment procedure. The Letter of Intent will not be subject to an eligibility procedure; however, NWO and FAPESP may give advice based on the Letter.
Many societal challenges are global in nature, and require flexibility and creativity to find solutions. The collaborative research financed by FAPESP and NWO in this call is intended to work towards scientific knowledge and innovative solutions for high scientific and societal impact. At the same time, FAPESP and NWO aim to stimulate strong, sustainable research collaboration between their two countries, by inviting researchers from knowledge institutions from both countries who will work with societal partners from public, semi-public and private organisations, in order to increase the societal relevance of their research.
The aim of this call is to strengthen research cooperation between researchers in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, and researchers in the Netherlands by funding joint research projects. The funded projects combined will focus on healthy ageing. Project proposals must be jointly written by researchers formally associated with public or private Higher Education or Research Institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil and universities or NWO-acknowledged research institutions in the Netherlands and must reflect unison and close cooperation. It is expected that research activities be conducted on both sides, including the exchange of researchers, and that the project and the intellectual contribution is evenly balanced between São Paulo and the Netherlands.
Living a rewarding and healthy life in dignity, maximizing on ones’ personal intrinsic capacities into old age, is an important value for all individuals and societies. Intrinsic capacity is described in the World report on ageing and health (2015) as the composite of all physical and mental capacities including genetic inheritance, personal and health characteristics and presence or absence of disease. The challenge imposed by the demographic life expectancy enhancement of the past 150 years is the change in medical and societal needs of the rapidly ageing global communities. This is becoming an urgent challenge in Western societies, such as in the Netherlands, and is increasingly important for countries with growing economies, such as Brazil. The extensive heterogeneity in intrinsic capacity across critical life stages and the individual life course environment leads especially in the second half of life to divergence in rate and nature of functional decline, loss of homeostasis and resilience among older persons. This heterogeneity influences the individual’s functional trajectory, the onset and progression of age-related disorders, co-morbidity and the response to preventive measures and treatment and calls for preventive and medical approaches personalised towards individual needs, or stratified towards specific target populations.
The mission: Reinforcing vitality and healthy ageing among older people
The main goal of this call for proposals is summarized as: ‘To understand the biological determinants of the heterogeneity of the ageing process, developing instruments to allow stratification of target groups, while maximizing the functional capacity, independence, and quality of life of older persons.’
Joint studies will help to deepen our knowledge of (bio) markers (classifiers) of vulnerability of older persons and the biological, clinical and environmental determinants of poor intrinsic capacity trajectories. The most vital step in beneficially influencing the ageing process is understanding its mechanisms. The collaboration will strengthen initiatives aimed at healthy ageing, maintenance of vitality and well-being, through maintenance of functional ability including mobility, sensory and mental health. The core impact of this program will be on understanding ageing, disentangling individual heterogeneity of citizen in the second half of life in the rich data of cohort studies and population health surveys on the development of personalised and/or stratified prevention and optimized treatment strategies to improve outcomes for older people (clinically, quality of life). Comparing Brazil and the Netherlands with respect to intrinsic capacity and living conditions across the lifespan will provide specific knowledge on the impact of economic, environmental, medical and social programs have on health and well-being. This knowledge has the potential to contribute to global solutions for healthy ageing.
- Risk prediction and the biological basis for the change of physiological vulnerability to multi-morbidity, shifts or switches in resilience across the second half of the life-course;
- Data science ((bio)informatics, omics and systems biology) of the ageing process;
- Measures and mediators of reversible and irreversible damage to biological systems (research into molecular and imaging biomarkers, indicators of tissue failure) in humans, cellular and animal models;
- Data analytics of molecular and health record data and biomaterials; (patient/population-based cohorts and studies) into the effects of socio-economical and lifestyle difference that form accelerators of immune-metabolic, physical and mental vulnerability in later life;
- Studies on well recorded preventive interventions, including digital/e-Health solutions in nutrition/exercise.
At least one out of above listed priority themes must be addressed in every research proposal, in order to stimulate both coherence of the programme and interdisciplinary research. Both FAPESP and NWO explicitly encourage applicants to combine approaches from different fields of knowledge in order to arrive at comprehensive solutions. Proposals should describe their connection to national/international research programs and impact for Dutch and Brazilian scientists and society.
2.3.1. Integrated research approach and Co-creation
Proposals should be characterised by equal partnership and sustainable collaboration between the FAPESP and Dutch partners. This includes inter-institutional cooperation, a balanced contribution to the proposed research, and frequent exchange between the partners, including exchange visits by both senior and junior researchers. Together, the researchers will 1) formulate relevant research questions and approaches; 2) formulate and submit the proposal through the principal investigators; 3) conduct the project activities; 4) coordinate knowledge sharing and support the application, dissemination and communication of the project results to a broader group of possible knowledge users; and 5) take responsibility for the adequate and timely reporting conditions. Each principal investigator can only submit one proposal.
The challenges addressed in this Call are interrelated and multi-scalar, and to reach impact require a holistic approach that spans the entire research and innovation chain. Added value may be achieved by integrating and synthesizing various sources of knowledge to create “new” knowledge and by creating sustainability through the development of long-term knowledge relations. This Call aims at knowledge chain-wide collaboration, to enhance demand articulation, ownership, and the effective uptake of results. For this reason, all researchers, as well as relevant stakeholders, are expected to be engaged in all phases of the project execution, from its inception to sharing the (emerging) results. Evidence of such active engagement will be an important element in the assessment of project proposals and may be demonstrated through references to involvement in project preparation, active involvement as a project partner and links between the proposed research project and ongoing projects of NGOs, private enterprises, and/or policy implementation.
A Consortium Agreement to regulate consortium governance, task division, resource management and ownership of results between the collaborating consortium organisations is obligatory (see section 3.5 for details).
2.3.2. Knowledge Sharing and Research Uptake
The research conducted in this Call for Proposals should have relevance and potential for impact beyond the academic world, such as in societal, technical, economical or cultural realms. This is why, in addition to having a societal or industry partner within the consortium, consortia should consider how society in the broadest sense can be involved in the design and realisation of the proposed research project.
To further increase the potential for impact of the proposed research, the application should state how knowledge sharing and research uptake from the consortium to end users, such as practitioners, policymakers, and industry, will be facilitated.
Eligible consortia are composed of researchers from the Netherlands and the state of São Paulo, with active involvement in the project of a senior Principal Investigator (PI) on both the Dutch and the Brazilian side. The consortium must also include a partner from the public and/or semi-public sectors and/or industry. A cash contribution of a partner from the public and/or semi-public sector and/or industry is optional. Proposals that do not comply with the terms of this Call will not qualify for analysis. Applicants must note that the funding agencies retain the right to reject applications where they fail to comply with the procedures set out in the guidelines. If an application is ineligible for one of the agencies, the complete project will be rejected.
A proposal should have two Principal Investigators: one based in the Netherlands, and one based in the State of São Paulo. The two Principal Investigators will serve as the recipients of the grants from their respective countries. They will serve as the points of contact for NWO and FAPESP and will submit the proposal to both organisations. The Principal Investigators’ organisations will take responsibility for the project secretariat, the day-to-day management and all financial affairs of the research project.
3.1.1. Principal Investigators
a. Researchers from the following knowledge institutions can submit proposals:
- Dutch universities;
- University medical centres;
- TO2 institutes;
- NWO and KNAW institutes;
- the Netherlands Cancer Institute;
- NCB Naturalis;
- the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen;
- researchers from the DUBBLE Beamline at the ESRF in Grenoble;
- Advanced Research Centre for NanoLithography (ARCNL);
- Prinses Máxima Centrum for pediatric oncology.
b. Applicants must hold a doctorate and/or be professor.
c. Applicants must have an employment contract for at least the duration of the application procedure and the duration of the research the grant is applied for.
d. Employees who have a ‘zero-hours’ contract (0-aanstelling) or a contract as an unpaid guest researcher cannot apply.
e. Applicants may not apply for a position for themselves.
f. Researchers can only submit one proposal in this call.
Researchers eligible for FAPESP funding must be formally associated with public or private Higher Education or Research Institutions in the State of São Paulo and must meet the FAPESP eligibility requirements for Thematic Research Projects (www.fapesp.br/147) or Young Investigator Awards (https://fapesp.br/yia/);
a. Researchers from the State of São Paulo must consult FAPESP about their eligibility to this Call before starting the preparation of their proposals . FAPESP will issue and send to applicants a declaration concerning their eligibility within this Call. If positive, this Declaration of Eligibility must be included in the proposal as a PDF file by the time of the submission at FAPESP system;
b. Applicants will have their eligibility evaluated within 20 days of the receiving of this request. The consultation for eligibility must be sent up to August, 1st. Consultations sent after this date will not be considered;
c. The eligibility consultation must be sent exclusively to the e-mail email@example.com with the following information in one PDF file:
1) Name and affiliation of the applicant
2) Tentative title and a 5-line abstract of the project
3) FAPESP Modality desired (Thematic Research project, or Young Investigator Awards)
4) Estimated amount of budget to be requested to FAPESP and to NWO
5) Summary CV (FAPESP model) of the applicant
6) Information about whether the applicant is currently PI of a FAPESP ongoing project (indicate project number)
7) Estimated time devoted to the project (hours/week)
According to NWO conditions a co-applicant is participant in the consortium and receives funding through the principal investigator. A co-applicant:
a. is a researcher from one of the institutions listed in 3.1.1, who has an employment contract for at least the duration of the application procedure and the duration of the research the grant is applied for;
b. has at least a PhD or an equivalent qualification;
c. is a partner from the public and/or semi-public sectors and/or industry. Please note that personnel of these organisations is excluded from payment of salaries and research costs from the NWO.
d. is an experienced researcher (a professor, assistant professor, or a researcher with a similar appointment) with an appointment at an university of applied sciences funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education for the duration of the application process and the project (funded in accordance with Article 1.8 of the law on higher education and scientific research).
All organisations participating in a consortium must be registered as a legal persona.
Different costs can be reimbursed from the FAPESP and NWO grants. The application form allows you to specify which organisation you would like to cover a certain cost. Additional to that you also have to fill in the budget form for the costs to be covered by the NWO grant.
Available funding and eligible costs for NWO
The maximum amount of funding that can be applied for per consortium on the Dutch side is € 700.000, resulting in, most likely, granting of 2 projects. The NWO-FAPESP joint call has a programmatic approach, so it is envisaged that these proposals will be complementary to each other.
The budget is built up using the NWO-wide standardised building blocks, the so-called modules. These modules are described below. In the proposal budget, applicants choose which combination of modules are needed to answer the research question and how often each module will be deployed. The following modules are available for an application within this round:
2. Material Credit
NWO has provided a budget form for the costs to be covered by the NWO grant that should be uploaded with your application. While filling in the budget, you are expected to justify how the proposed cost will support the project. This justification should be included in the section in the designated section of the application form. A specification of the costs that are covered per module can be found in Annex 2. The above modules can be applied as many times as necessary, up to the maximum total budget on NWO side. Please note that the module personnel costs specify that costs should be conform the Dutch agreements; however, for personnel not employed by a Dutch (research) institution, local tariffs apply, with a maximum of the equivalent in the Dutch agreements. If you inted to include a PhD student on a project that is shorter than 48 months, you must provide a letter of guarantee from the university where the PhD student will be employed that guarantees financing for the remaining time up to 48 months.
Available funding and eligible costs for FAPESP
NWO and FAPESP will provide budgets to fund 2 proposals. For the 2019 call, the available budget at NWO is ca. 1.4 million euros and FAPESP will match in terms of research efforts. It is envisaged that applications will display a balanced partnership, not specifically in monetary terms but with equivalent research commitment and efforts from both sides.
Funding and costs requested by the São Paulo researcher to FAPESP must be in accordance with FAPESP norms for (i) Thematic research project or (ii) Young Investigator Award. Research projects can have a duration of five years, respecting norms of each modality as exposed in mentioned types of funding by FAPESP.
I) Thematic Research Project: This modality can fund projects for 60 months. Request can include equipment, services, travel allowances and the following academic Scholarships: Postdoctoral, Honour PhD (Doutorado Direto), Scientific Initiation, Technical Training, Scientific Journalism (JC) and Educational Improvement (Aperfeiçoamento Pedagógico/Ensino Público), in all cases according to the FAPESP rules (https://fapesp.br/176).
II) Young Investigator Awards: This modality can fund 60 months. Request can include equipment, services, travel allowances and the following academic Scholarships: Master degree, Honour PhD (Doutorado Direto), Scientific Initiation, Technical Training, Scientific Journalism (JC) and Educational Improvement (Aperfeiçoamento Pedagógico/Ensino Público), in all cases according to the FAPESP rules (www.fapesp.br/yia).
In all two cases, proposals with excessive request for equipment (over 40%) will be returned without merit review.
Important : Aiming at strengthening the collaboration between the two-awarded projects, FAPESP and NWO will invite both research teams to participate in evaluation meetings along the 5 years. For that reason, it is mandatory that SP PI’s request budget to attend those meetings that can happen both in the state of São Paulo or Netherlands.
The closing date for the submission of proposals to ProjectNet is 3 September 2019, 14:00 hours CE(S)T and deadline for submitting to the SAGe platform is 23:59 hours (GMT-3). The same proposal is expected to be submitted to both NWO and FAPESP. Proposals will not be accepted after the closing date for submission, nor will any addendum or explanation be accepted, unless those explicitly and formally requested by FAPESP or NWO. Proposals submitted only in one country and/or received after the deadline will be declared ineligible.
Letters of Intent must be submitted by August, 1st 2019. The Letter of Intent must be submitted by the Dutch principal investigator to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that researchers from the state of São Paulo must consult FAPESP about their eligibility no later than August, 1st 2019, according to item 3.1.1 above.
When you submit your application to the Dutch online application system (ProjectNet) you will also need to enter additional details online. You should therefore start submitting your application at least one day before the deadline of this call for proposals.
After the deadline, NWO and FAPESP will check whether the proposals have been submitted before the deadline in both the Netherlands and Brazil (State of São Paulo). They will inform each other of the results.
Applicants must note that the funding agencies retain the right to reject applications that fail to comply with the procedures set out in these guidelines.
Brazilian-Dutch research teams must prepare a joint research proposal, which will be submitted to NWO by the Dutch partner and to FAPESP by the SP PI .
All proposals must be completed in English and follow the proposal structure as indicated in the research application form (see section 3.6 for downloads). The proposals should be submitted in PDF format.
The proposal should be clearly integrated and contain one central issue to be investigated, as well as a methodology and an implementation plan. The project description in the proposal submitted by the Dutch and the Brazilian (State of São Paulo) research team should be identical and describe the members of the collaboration, the envisioned research, a description of activities carried out in Brazil and The Netherlands and additional relevant information. The proposal also describes how this grant builds upon the own line of research in Brazil or the Netherlands and the added value of this joint research proposal. Exchange of researchers within the joint project is envisioned, e.g. working a couple of months in at the research institution of the collaborative researcher abroad. These topics can all be addressed in the research application form.
The budget should be specified clearly and separately in the proposal for respectively the Dutch and Brazilian part (State of São Paulo) of the project.
Please note that the funding will be administered to the successful main applicants via the national funding agency.
The selected proposals will be the subject of a research agreement in writing to be signed by FAPESP and the Principal Investigator (PI) in São Paulo. FAPESP may cancel funding if, during the grant timeframe, there appears a fact of sufficient gravity to justify cancellation, at the discretion of the Scientific Director, without prejudice of any other appropriate actions.
When funding is cancelled in one country, the funding is also cancelled in the other country.
General guidelines and conditions
The ‘NWO regulation on granting’ and the ‘Agreement on Payment of Costs for Scientific Research’ apply to all applications. NWO may cancel funding according to the NWO Regulation on Granting.
NWO Code of Conduct regarding Conflict of Interests
The ‘NWO Code of Conduct regarding Conflict of Interests’ applies to all persons and NWO personnel involved in the assessment and decision-making procedure for this call for proposals.
Conditions start and runtime of project
The project should start within six months after the date of the grant letter. At least one researcher must be appointed to the project at the time of its start. If the project has not started within six months, NWO and FAPESP can decide to revoke the granting decision.
The project can start if the following documents have been approved by NWO:
- A project notification form with information of project staff;
- A data management plan;
- A consortium agreement, signed by all consortium organisations ;
- (if relevant) approval of an ethics committee;
- (if relevant) receipt by NWO of the first tranche of in-cash co-financing.
When publishing the results of the subsidised research, the support by NWO and FAPESP should be mentioned.
Reporting to NWO and FAPESP
Yearly and midterm report
Every year the project must submit a written report (in English) to inform NWO and FAPESP on the overall project progress, experiences and output. The Dutch and Brazilian Principal Investigator will receive instructions and a format for this report in advance. A review advisory committee constituted by FAPESP and NWO will evaluate the progress of the projects based on mid-term reports submitted by the consortia as well as face to face interaction.
End report and final accountability to NWO
A substantive final report should be submitted within three months after the end of the project’s runtime, detailing the research done and the achieved results. The final substantive report will again be evaluated by the joined review committee, constituted by FAPESP and NWO. Simultaneously, the Dutch principal investigator and the controller/financial manager of the principal investigator’s institution should submit a signed financial end report, organised according to the budget lines of the approved budget. The report should detail, among others, the effective duration (period) and size (fte) of the personnel appointed to the project, and, if applicable, how eventual replacements were arranged. The realised in cash and in-kind co-financing should also be accounted for. NWO reserves the right to conduct an external financial audit. The project ends with the issuing of the grant settlement decision. This decision is taken after approval of the final document(s) by NWO.
NWO and FAPESP expect that during the project’s runtime, as well as in the years following the project, all forms of output related to the project be registered in ProjectNet.
The projects awarded under this call should contribute to reinforce vitality and healthy ageing among older people. To this end, principal investigators and researchers are expected to contribute to knowledge exchange and knowledge utilisation at a programme level, and to attend to eventual meetings organised for that purpose. This includes a kickstart meeting when the projects are granted, a midterm meeting and a final meeting. This is in addition to the activities organised by the individual projects for this purpose.
- Co-financing by private and/or public parties is not a requirement for this Call, but it is stimulated. If available, it can take the form of in-kind or in-cash co-financing.
- For in-kind contributions, supervision and consultancy may not be included as contribution. It is possible for contributions to be partially in-kind and partially in-cash. The amounts of co-financing specified in the budget should correspond to the amount of co-financing specified in the guarantee letter or letter of commitment. If a co-financing private organisation has an ANBI-status, a declaration to this effect should be sent to NWO.
- The private and/or public parties that are part of the consortium should be involved in the research for the duration of the project.
- The Dutch principal investigator is responsible for the inning of in-cash co-financing from partners. Agreements regarding this inning should be made in the consortium agreement.
Consortium agreement (the same document called as Letter of Agreement for FAPESP)
For research partnerships to be effective, they have to be fair. A consortium agreement should be signed by all consortium partners prior to the start of the awarded project, detailing agreements regarding rights (such as copyright, publications, intellectual property etc. of products or other developments in the project), knowledge utilisation, as well as affairs such as payments, progress- and final reports, and confidentiality. The agreement furthermore details agreements on governance of the consortium (to the extent that it gives sufficient guarantee for effective collaboration), finances, and if applicable, basic knowledge to be contributed, liability, disputes, and information sharing within the consortium. The agreement (see NWO format of a consortium agreement) has to be drafted in a spirit of equity.
The initiative for the concluding of these agreements lies with the principal investigators. The agreement will be tested for consistency with the NWO Grant Rules 2017. For Intellectual Property (IP) rights, the provisions as specified in Chapter 4 of the NWO Grant Rules 2017 are applicable, according to which the IP-rights to the results belong to the research institution, whose employee generated the results in question (ownership follows inventorship). For the IP rights of the results of possible co-financing institutions, the percentages shown are applicable, unless a fitting reflection justifies the deviation from this.
All scientific publications resulting from research that is funded by grants derived from this call for proposals are to be immediately (at the time of publication) freely accessible worldwide (Open Access). There are several ways for researchers to publish Open Access. A detailed explanation regarding Open Access can be found on www.nwo.nl/openscience-en.
Responsible data management is part of good research. NWO wants research data that emerge from publicly funded research to become freely and sustainably available, as much as possible, for reuse by other researchers. Furthermore NWO wants to raise awareness among researchers about the importance of responsible data management. Proposals should therefore satisfy the data management protocol of NWO. This protocol consists of two steps:
1. Data management section
The data management section is part of the research proposal. Researchers should answer four questions about data management within their intended research project. Therefore before the research starts the researcher will be asked to think about how the data collected must be ordered and categorised so that it can be made freely available. Measures will often need to be taken during the production and analysis of the data to make their later storage and dissemination possible. Researchers can state which research data they consider to be relevant for storage and reuse.
2. Data management plan
After a proposal has been awarded funding the researcher should elaborate the data management section into a data management plan. The data management plan is a concrete elaboration of the data management section. In the plan the researcher describes whether use will be made of existing data or a new data collection and how the data collection will be made FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable. The plan should be submitted to NWO via ISAAC within a maximum of 4 months after the proposal has been awarded funding. NWO will approve the plan as quickly as possible. Approval of the data management plan by NWO is a condition for disbursement of the funding. The plan can be adjusted during the research.
Further information about the data management protocol of NWO can be found at www.nwo.nl/datamanagement.
The Nagoya Protocol became effective on 12 October 2014 and ensures an honest and reasonable distribution of benefits emerging from the use of genetic resources (Access and Benefit Sharing; ABS). Researchers who make use of genetic sources from the Netherlands or abroad for their research should familiarise themselves with the Nagoya Protocol (www.absfocalpoint.nl). NWO assumes that researchers will take all necessary actions with respect to the Nagoya Protocol.
Any research proposal that raises ethical issues must be carefully considered in advance. The applicants need to assess what ethical challenges will be met in the proposed research, consider how these will be addressed, and how ethical clearance will be obtained. In the Netherlands, certain research projects require a statement of approval from a recognised (medical) ethics review committee or an animal experiments committee. In addition, some research proposals require a licence under the Population Screening Act (WBO). Similar laws and regulations in the Brazil must be adhered to if required and applicable. Applicants must subscribe to and comply with the prevailing codes.
Applicants themselves are responsible for determining whether their research proposal raises possible ethical issues. If so, they are also responsible for obtaining any necessary statement of approval from the appropriate ethics review committees and/or license under the Population Screening Act or similar organisations. A research project can only start when NWO has received a copy of the necessary approving ethical statement and/or Population Screening Act license (if applicable). For complex questions related to ethical issues and in case applicants would question the need for ethical clearance, NWO and FAPESP reserve the right to consult an external adviser. If after consulting the applicant, NWO and FAPESP are of the opinion that an ethical assessment is needed for the application, then the applicant is obliged to take the necessary measures for such an assessment. If the applicant fails to obtain the necessary statement of approval from an ethics review committee then the grant shall be immediately withdrawn.
Once the project has started the research must be conducted in an ethically responsible way. If the applicant fails to do so, NWO and FAPESP shall reserve the right to withdraw the grant immediately.
Submitting an application to NWO
An application can only be submitted to NWO via the online application system ProjectNet. Applications not submitted via ProjectNet will not be taken into consideration.
A principal applicant must submit his/her application via his/her own ProjectNet account. If the principal applicant does not have a ProjectNet account yet, then this should be created at least one day before the application is submitted to ensure that any registration problems can be resolved on time. If the principal applicant already has an account, then he/she does not need to create a new account to submit an application.
An application consists of completing the required information in ProjectNet, the Dutch electronic application and reporting system, and uploading a research proposal in pdf format. Please take the following steps to prepare an application for a joint research project:
− Download the application form;
− Download the budget form;
− Complete the application form and budget form and the letters of commitment (if applicable);
− Save the application form, budget form and letters of commitment (if applicable) as pdf files and upload it in ProjectNet.
When you submit your application to ProjectNet you will also need to enter additional details online. You should therefore start submitting your application at least one day before the deadline of this call for proposals. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be taken into consideration.
For technical questions please contact the helpdesk, see Section 5.1.2.
Submitting an application to FAPESP
Besides the submission to ProjectNet, the PI in the State of São Paulo must submit to FAPESP, via the SAGe platform (electronic application and reporting system of FAPESP). All the documents required by SAGe platform must be attached to the online submission. Proposals lacking mandatory documents will be returned without merit review.
The assessment process will be led by NWO. Reviewers will be appointed by NWO and FAPESP. The NWO Code of Conduct on Conflicts of Interest applies to all persons and NWO staff involved in the assessment and/or decision-making process. For further information see: www.nwo.nl/en/documents/nwo/legal/nwo-code-of-conduct-on-conflicts-of-interest
The NWO Regulation on Granting includes a clause that states that all research funded by NWO must be realised in accordance with the nationally and internationally accepted standards for scientific conduct as stated in the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice 2012 (VSNU). Further information about the NWO policy on scientific integrity can be found on the website: www.nwo.nl/beleid/wetenschappelijke+integriteit.
NWO gives all proposals a qualification (see also paragraph 4.2). The qualification will be made known to the two Principal Investigators (main applicants) in the same letter in which they are also informed about the decision whether or not to award funding. Only proposals that are assessed as excellent or very good will be eligible for funding. For further information about the qualifications please see: www.nwo.nl/en/funding/funding+process+explained/nwo+qualification+system
Eligibility of the proposal
In the assessment procedure, the eligibility of the individual projects will be determined using the conditions stated in Chapters 2 and 3 of this call for proposals. Eligibility of the proposals will be assessed by NWO and FAPESP at the start of the procedure. Mark that researchers from the state of São Paulo must consult FAPESP about their eligibility no later than August 1st, 2019. Proposals that do not comply with the terms, or with the aim of this call for proposals (see Chapter 2) will be considered ‘not eligible’ and will not qualify for analysis. Proposals will only be considered eligible if approved by all councils.
Please be aware of the strict eligibility criteria for FAPESP researchers, also described in Chapter 3.2. For this reason Brazilian PI’s should check their eligibility with FAPESP prior to submitting the proposal.
All eligible proposals will be submitted to international referees for assessment. Referees are experts in the discipline of the applicant and/or have expertise in applied sciences and /or practice. They will write a referee's report in which they state the strong and weak aspects of the proposal, according to the assessment criteria specified in Chapter 4.2. The anonymised referees' reports will be sent to the two Principal Investigators (main applicants) who then subsequently write a joint written response (the rebuttal). Referees will be appointed by NWO and FAPESP.
Main applicants with proposals considered eligible and received for review will have the right to jointly formulate a two page rebuttal to the peer review reports. The anonymized reviews will be sent by NWO and FAPESP to the respective Principal Investigators. The joint rebuttal needs to be submitted to NWO and FAPESP by email and will be requested within a short time frame of maximum two weeks.
A joint international assessment committee will be composed by NWO and FAPESP. The committee's task is to make an independent evaluation based on the application, the referees’ reports and the rebuttal. Although the referees’ reports have a strong bearing on the final assessment they will not be unquestioningly adopted by the assessment committee. The assessment committee will consider the arguments of the referees (also between referees) and will examine whether a good response to the critical comments from the referees' reports has been formulated in the rebuttal. Furthermore, unlike the referees, the selection committee oversees the quality of the other proposals submitted and the rebuttals. It will rate and rank the proposals, and formulate a funding recommendation to NWO and FAPESP.
Representatives from NWO and FAPESP will jointly formulate a final decision based on the advice provided by the Assessment Committee.
5 June 2019
Opening and announcement of the call
1 August 2019
Deadline eligibility check PI FAPESP and Letter of intent
3 September 2019
Deadline submission of proposals
Obtaining rebuttals from applicants
On average researchers are given a maximum of 2 weeks to respond
End of November 2019
Meeting evaluation committee
Final decision NWO-ZonMw/FAPESP
Start of the projects
This is an approximate timeline, from which no rights can be obtained.
4.2.1 Assessment criteria
All eligible proposals will be assessed based on three equally weighted criteria:
I. Quality of the research proposal
II. Quality of the consortium
III. Potential scientific and/or societal breakthroughs
The criteria carry equal weight and each count for one-third of the final assessment. The assessment criteria are further operationalised below:
I. Quality of the research proposal
- Scientific importance of the proposed research;
- Complementarity to other research programmes or (inter)national research agendas;
- Innovativeness of the research question and approach;
- Interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity; the proposal incorporates the scientific disciplines necessary for addressing the problem, as well as knowledge from outside the scientific community;
- Clarity of problem statement and rigour of research;
- Suitability and feasibility of the approach and methodology and adequacy of the budget
II. Quality of the consortium
- Quality of the involved research partners;
- Quality of the Brazil-Dutch collaboration, including equality in the partnership;
- Potential for long-term knowledge relations;
- Coherence and complementary of the consortium, including organisation of the research;
- Quality of knowledge co-creation, including attention to and involvement of the complete knowledge chain
III. Potential scientific and/or societal breakthroughs
- The potential impact of the research results in scientific, societal and/or economic terms;
- Relevance for society, including the relevance of the proposed research for the focus of the Call;
- Degree to which the proposal aims for scientific and societal breakthroughs;
- Impact, including indicators and plans for knowledge transfer, utilisations, and valorisation.
All criteria will be taken into consideration. In addition, the assessment committee will be asked to take possible collaboration between projects and coverage of all the different themes in this call into account when formulating a funding recommendation to NWO and FAPESP. Proposals of insufficient quality will not be eligible for funding even if there is sufficient budget to fund them. The results will be announced by both FAPESP and NWO via a letter to the main applicant.
5.1.1. Specific questions
For specific questions about the NWO-FAPESP joint Call for Proposals ‘Healthy Ageing’ please contact:
NWO (ZonMw): Annemarie Penders, tel. +31 (0)70 349 50 43, e-mail: email@example.com
FAPESP: Dra. B (Bruna) Musa, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
5.1.2. Technical questions about the electronic application system ProjectNet
If you have any technical queries about using the online application system ProjectNet, you may contact the helpdesk from Monday to Friday between 08.00 and 17.00 CE(S)T on +31 (0)70 349 5178, or mail email@example.com. Please include your telephone number in your email so that our support staff can call you if necessary.
Format Letter of Intent
The Letter of Intent is a mandatory step in the procedure. Proposals that are not preceded by a Letter of Intent are excluded from the competition.
The Letter of Intent should be written in English, and should be submitted on the writing paper of the institute of the Dutch main applicant, using the format below. The Letter of Intent should be signed by the Dutch-based Principal Investigator and Brazil (state of São Paulo)-based Principal Investigator.
Please copy the following on the writing paper and complete:
Subject: Letter of Intent
Call for proposals, 2019 NWO-FAPESP joint Call for Proposals ‘Healthy Ageing’ Programme
Names and affiliation of consortium members: please note that the names of the Dutch Principal Investigator and Principal Investigator of the State of São Paulo must be the same as in the final application
Summary of the project: Max. 750 words. including aim / focus / research questions / alignment to the foci of the call
Name and signature main applicant and co-principal investigator
The Letter of Intent should be submitted in electronic form (PDF format) ultimately August 1st, 2019 by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following modules can be applied for from the NWO grant. Please use the budget format in Annex 6.4 while completing your budget. Any required justification should be included in section 4c. of your application form.
1. Module Personnel: a) PhD/PDEng/MD PhD; b) Postdoc; c) Non Scientific Personnel; d) Personnel at universities of applied sciences (HBO); e) Research leave; f) Other scientific personnel; g) Salary applicant
NB: Remunerations for PhD scholarship students at a Dutch university are not eligible for funding from NWO.
• Module 1a) PhD/PDEng/MD PhD
The guideline is that 1 fte PhD for 48 months or 0.8 fte for 60 months can be applied for. If a different duration of appointment is desired for the realisation of the proposed research, then the guidelines may be deviated from as long as this is well justified (e.g. PDEng 2 years or MD PhD longer than 4 years).
The salary costs will be remunerated according to the agreements in the 'Agreement for Funding Scientific Research' made with the Association of Universities in the Netherlands and are based on the collective labour agreement of the Dutch universities (for ZonMw, the costs are based on the collective labour agreement of the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres).
In addition to salary costs, the project employee funded by NWO will receive a one-off individual bench fee (€ 5000) to encourage his or her scientific career. The agreement and the maximum amounts for personnel costs can be found at https://www.nwo.nl/approval-of-funding-for-scientific-research-2008 and https://www.nwo.nl/salarytables.
• Module 1b) Postdoc
The guideline is that the appointment period of a postdoc can be between 12 and 48 months. The minimum size of the appointment is 0.5 fte for 12 months. This deployment can be spread over a longer or shorter period, for example across the entire duration of the project.
If the applicants wish to deploy expertise for a shorter period of time, then the material credit can be used for this.
The salary costs will be remunerated according to the 'Agreement for Funding Scientific Research’ made with the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (for ZonMw, the costs are based on the collective labour agreement of the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres).
• Module 1c) Non-scientific personnel
For the appointment of non-scientific personnel, specifically needed for the research project which funding is applied for, a maximum of € 100,000 can be requested with this module. This can concern personnel such as student assistants, programmers, technical assistants, analysts, et cetera. This module can only be applied for in combination with modules 1a and/or 1b.
The minimum size of the appointment is 0.5 fte for 12 months. The minimum appointment can be spread over a longer period of time. If the applicants wish to deploy expertise for a shorter period of time, then the material credit can be used for this.
Salary costs are dependent on the level and are remunerated in accordance with the agreements in the most recent 'Agreement for Funding Scientific Research' made with the Association of Universities in the Netherlands and are based on the collective labour agreement of the Dutch universities. The agreement and the maximum amounts for personnel costs can be found at https://www.nwo.nl/approval-of-funding-for-scientific-research-2008 and https://www.nwo.nl/salarytables.
• Module 1d) Personnel at universities of applied sciences
For the appointment of personnel at universities of applied sciences the system of the Handleiding Overheidstarieven (HOT) has been applicable since 1 January 2018. In particular the column ‘cost covering rates per hour’ (table 2.2, Integrale loonkosten), which is based on the collective labour agreement for universities of applied sciences with respect to the salary scale of the employee concerned. These rates are maximum values. For students, only the actual amounts paid to students can be entered as costs within the project. A maximum hourly rate of € 25.00 always applies to students.
• Module 1e) Research leave
In this module, the replacement costs for the main applicant and/or co-applicants can be applied for, so that they can be released from educational, administrative and management tasks. The research leave grant can only be used in combination with and for the purposes of the projects or programmes applied for. For the research leave grant, a maximum size of 5 months applies based on 1 fte at the level of the postdoc employee as described in module 1b, with the hourly rates according to the agreement with the Association of Universities in the Netherlands. This budget is intended for the release of the applicants from educational and supervisory tasks so that they can work on the research for which funding has been requested. The employer can use the research leave grant to cover the costs of the replacement for the non-research tasks of the applicant(s) such as education, administrative and management tasks. These tasks must be specified in the proposal.
• Module 1f) Other scientific personnel
Budget for other scientific personnel such as university graduates, graduate physicians and graduate physicians training to be specialists that are needed for the research project that funding is requested for. This module can only be applied for in combination with module 1a and/or 1b. The maximum period of appointment is 48 months for 1fte and 60 months for a part-time appointment. The minimum size of the appointment is 0.5 fte for 12 months. This deployment can be spread over a longer or shorter period, for example across the entire duration of the project.
2. Module Material credit
A maximum of € 15,000 per year per full-time scientific position (modules 1a, 1b and/or 1d) can be applied for, specified according to the three categories stated below:
— consumables (glassware, chemicals, cryogenic fluids, etc.);
— equipment and/or software (e.g. lasers, specialist computers or computer programs, etc.).
For these small items of equipment and/or software, the amount may not amount to more than € 160,000 per application.
— measurement and calculation time (e.g. supercomputer access, etc.);
— costs for acquiring or using data collections (e.g. from Statistics Netherlands);
— access to large national and international facilities (e.g. cleanrooms, synchrotrons, datasets, etc.);
— work by third parties (e.g. laboratory analyses, data collection, etc.);
— personnel costs smaller in size than those offered in module 1.
Travel and accommodation costs (for the employees for which a personnel grant was requested in modules 1a and 1b)
— travel and accommodation costs (national and international);
— congress visits (max. 2 per year);
— work visits.
— national symposium/conference/workshop organised by the project;
— costs of open access publishing;
— data management costs;
— recruitment costs (incl. advertisement costs);
— costs involved in applying for licences (e.g. for animal experiments).
Costs that cannot be applied for are:
— basic facilities within the institution (e.g. laptops, desks, et cetera);
— maintenance and insurance costs.
If the maximum amount of € 15,000 per year per full-time scientific position is not sufficient for realising the research, then it may be deviated from if a clear justification is provided in the proposal. The only exception to this is the amount for small equipment (€ 160,000).
4. Module Valorisation/Impact: a) Knowledge Utilisation
Module 4a) The aim of this module is to facilitate the use of the knowledge that emerges from the research. The contribution requested may be no more than € 25,000 and must be specified.
As knowledge utilisation can assume very different forms in the various scientific disciplines, it is up to the applicant to specify which costs are needed, for example for producing an educational package or realising a feasibility study into application possibilities, or the costs of submitting a patent application. For further information about knowledge utilisation, please see https://www.nwo.nl/en/about-nwo/organisation/nwo-domains/wotro/Impact+toolkit/.
NB: please take into account the requirements stated elsewhere in the Call for Proposals.
5. Module Internationalisation: a) Internationalisation; b) Money follows Cooperation
• Module 5a) Internationalisation
The aim of this module is to encourage international collaboration. The contribution requested may be no more than € 25,000. The amount requested must be specified. If the maximum amount is not sufficient for realising the research, then it may be deviated from if a clear justification is provided in the proposal.
Funding can be requested for:
— travel and accommodation costs insofar as these are direct research costs that emerge from the international collaboration and for additional costs that are not covered in a different manner, for example from the bench fee. For an overview of the fixed maximum prices per country, see the listings of the Dutch government;
— travel and accommodation costs for foreign guest researchers;
— costs for the organisation of international workshops/symposia/scientific meetings.
• Module 5b) Money follows Cooperation (MfC)
The aim of this module is to encourage international collaboration via the principle of Money follows Cooperation, for which the national research budget is used for cross- border collaboration that offers the possibility to create added value for individual research projects by deploying expertise from abroad which is not available in the Netherlands at the desired level for the project. This concerns expertise from organisations outside of the Netherlands that have a public task and carry out research independently. In the proposal, the applicant must convincingly demonstrate that the expertise concerned is not available in the Netherlands. This will be assessed in the selection process. If the arguments are not sufficiently convincing, then the funds for this module cannot be made available.
Furthermore, the applicant needs to state the amount to be deployed for this module in the budget. In principle, there is no limit to the amount that can be requested.
[Template letter of commitment for consortium organisation]
[The letter should be printed on the stationery of the consortium organisation concerned]
[address main applicant]
Concerns: Letter of Commitment
Dear [name principal investigator],
Through this letter, I confirm that [name consortium organisation] is available and committed to participate in the proposed project, entitled ‘[proposal title]’, which was submitted to the ‘NWO-FAPESP joint Call for Proposals ‘Healthy Ageing’’.
[outline the availability and commitment of the consortium organisation]
[if applicable, indicate the consortium organisation’s total contribution in cash, or quantify the in kind contribution. This amount should be the same as indicated in the application form.]
[signed by the head of the organisation/department]
Location: [..] …… [signature]
Date: [..] [NAME + POSITION]
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
Laan van Nieuw Oost-Indië 300
2593 CE The Hague
R. Pio XI, 1500 - Alto da Lapa
CEP 05468-901 São Paulo/SP
Version: June 2019
The Merian Fund is part of NWO, and was founded to stimulate long-term collaboration with important (emerging) science nations and increase the visibility and profiling of Dutch science abroad. The Merian Fund focuses on broad scientific themes of societal importance that require a mission-oriented approach. Programmes in the Merian Fund are aligned with the National research Agenda (NWA) of the Netherlands. For more information see
 A format can be found here: https://www.nwo.nl/en/documents/wotro/wotro---format-consortium-agreement